Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Apex of Asia-Pacific cooperation

By Dong Xiangrong (China Daily) Updated: 2014-11-08 08:35

China and APEC have shaped each other's economic profile with Beijing's advocacy on opening up markets and increasing contribution

Since becoming a member of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in 1991, China has taken an active part in the organization's activities. China values its association with a multilateral economic organization, especially because the experience it had gathered as an APEC member in the 1990s helped it overcome some of the difficulties it faced while negotiating its entry into the World Trade Organization.

APEC abides by cooperative principles based on autonomy and negotiations, and promotes regional trade and investment through non-binding promises. Although it has failed to realize its Bogor Goal - that developed economies and developing economies fully open their markets to each other by 2010 and 2020 respectively - and faces strong competition from other multilateral cooperative organizations, APEC remains the most important economic cooperation and highest-level intergovernmental economic cooperation forum in the Asia-Pacific region.

Despite its remarkable economic achievements, China is still exploring new models and mechanisms for regional cooperation. In this context, the growth of APEC contributes to the development of China and vice-versa.

After entering APEC, China became part of the force driving development in the region as well as the rest of the world, with the Asia-Pacific becoming an important platform for China's development.

Last year, APEC members accounted for 60 percent of China's foreign trade, contributed about 83 percent of the foreign investment in actual use in China and were responsible for 69 percent of China's foreign direct investment. Therefore, the Asia-Pacific region is crucial for China to deepen its economic and trade cooperation with the world.

Besides, China has studied and explored APEC's experiences in economic and financial administration. It lowered its tax twice, in 1996 and 1997, to fulfill its promise to APEC to conduct a "pressure test" similar to that carried out by banks. The experience gained from the process helped China further open up its market to the outside world and participate in WTO trade negotiations.

On the other hand, China's fast-paced economic growth has enhanced APEC's influence, because China's rise has also benefited its trade partners, and many global organizations and individuals. Thus, it would not be a mistake to say, APEC is lucky to have China as a member.

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